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China’s spectacularly awful Spring Festival Gala

Seen by as many as 1 billion people annually since 1983, China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala is one of the most watched non-sports TV events in history. And it’s terrible: a Chinese variety show featuring saccharine songs, skits with most vestiges of humor or originality censored out, and (this year) performances by both Celine ...

Seen by as many as 1 billion people annually since 1983, China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala is one of the most watched non-sports TV events in history. And it’s terrible: a Chinese variety show featuring saccharine songs, skits with most vestiges of humor or originality censored out, and (this year) performances by both Celine Dion and Yanni.  For the latest Bloggingheads.TV episode, I spoke with Brendan O’Kane, a Beijing-based blogger at Rectified.name, about the show and the mangled wasteland that is Chinese television. Watch the entire episode here, or an excerpt on how the gala reflects life in China, below: 

Isaac Stone Fish is a journalist and senior fellow at the Asia Society’s Center on U.S-China Relations. He was formerly the Asia editor at Foreign Policy Magazine. Twitter: @isaacstonefish
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